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Upgrading Computer help pl0x


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#1
ThatTreeGuy

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All right, I need to know a few things:
What kind of graphics card can I buy.
What kind/how many ram...stuff I can buy and install. ( I don't know if there are different kinds )
Do I need a power supply upgrade?
And any other information that will help me improve my computer gaming.

Stuff:
Operating System: Windows Vista™ Home Premium (6.0, Build 6002) Service Pack 2 (6002.vistasp2_gdr.101014-0432)
Language: English (Regional Setting: English)
System Manufacturer: Compaq-Presario
System Model: KT526AA-ABA SR5505F
BIOS: Phoenix - AwardBIOS v6.00PG
Processor: AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+ (2 CPUs), ~2.2GHz
Memory: 894MB RAM
Page File: 1389MB used, 664MB available
Windows Dir: C:\Windows
DirectX Version: DirectX 11

Card name: NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430
Manufacturer: NVIDIA
Chip type: GeForce 6150SE nForce 430
DAC type: Integrated RAMDAC
Device Key: Enum\PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_03D0&SUBSYS_2A5B103C&REV_A2
Display Memory: 313 MB
Dedicated Memory: 122 MB
Shared Memory: 191 MB
Current Mode: 1280 x 720 (32 bit) (60Hz)
Monitor: HP w1907 Wide LCD Monitor
Driver Name: nvd3dum.dll
Driver Version: 8.17.0012.7061 (English)
DDI Version:
BGRA Supported: Yes
Driver Attributes: Final Retail
Driver Date/Size: 4/8/2011 00:14:00, 10071656 bytes
WHQL Logo'd: n/a
WHQL Date Stamp: n/a
Device Identifier: {D7B71E3E-4090-11CF-1968-570A1CC2C535}
Vendor ID: 0x10DE
Device ID: 0x03D0
SubSys ID: 0x2A5B103C
Revision ID: 0x00A2
Revision ID: 0x00A2
Video Accel:
Deinterlace Caps: n/a
DDraw Status: Enabled
D3D Status: Not Available
AGP Status: Enabled
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#2
Digerati

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Note the specs here: http://www.buy.com/p.../208114059.html

According to that page, your computer supports 2 RAM modules (sticks) and a max of 4Gb of DDR2 RAM (2 x 2Gb), with standard DDR2-800/PC2-6400. And it has a free PCIe x 16 slot, which means you have tons of graphics card options.

I would recommend upgrading your RAM first, as that will provide the most bang for your money. Here is my canned text for finding the right RAM.

These popular RAM makers have auto-scanning and/or manual entry RAM wizards to help you determine which RAM is compatible with your motherboard. For manual entry, enter/select the PC or motherboard make and model number and the wizard will list compatible RAM.

Crucial - Memory Advisor
Corsair - Memory Finder (manual data entry only)
GeIL - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
Kingston - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
Mushkin - Advisor
OCZ - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
Patriot - Memory Search (manual data entry only)
PNY - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)
SuperTalent - Memory Finder (manual data entry only)

The following retailers have auto-scanners and manual wizards. They sell brand name and/or "house" brand (re-branded) RAM.

Newegg - Memory Configurator System Tool
MemoryStock - Upgrade Configurator
18004Memory – Configurator
4AllMemory - Memory advisor (automatic and manual)
TigerDirect - Memory Configurator (manual data entry only)


The graphics card will require more thought. It appears you currently are using on-board (integrated) graphics. Upgrading to a decent card is likely to provide a significant improvement in over all computer performance because the card will likely have a better graphics processor (GPU), it will have its own dedicated RAM tweaked for graphics processing, and a card allows previously snagged system RAM used by the on-board to be freed up for use by the CPU and operating system.

However, graphics cards consume lots of power; often the most power hungry device in the computer. Entry level computer makers typically use a PSU that is barely adequate to support the hardware it came with. Adding hardware, especially a graphics card, will likely require you to buy a new PSU too. I cannot find any specs on your PSU - and typically when they are not published with the computer specs, it is usually a sign the maker knows the PSU is nothing to brag about.
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#3
ThatTreeGuy

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Thanks for the information!

I'd like to know a few more things.

Whats a PSU?

What do I have to do to go about and buying/upgrading a better one.

Things i'd like to have would be 3 gigs of ram, a decent graphics card and a PSU<-? Is that a power supply? Or is it something I need to worry about :[?

Any graphics card suggestions that are compat. with my computer? and ram :)? Newegg linkssss :unsure:?
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#4
Digerati

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Sorry - yes PSU is "power supply unit". I will add my canned text on selecting PSUs at the bottom. I don't recommend specific graphics cards - there's just too many good ones to choose from dozens of makers, with new ones coming out all the time. But really all rely on the same GPUs (graphics processor unit) from the same two major suppliers, AMD/ATI and NVIDIA. Don't let anyone tell you one is better than the other. Like Intel and AMD CPUs, they both make excellent, very reliable products.

And you can easily spend $1000 or more on a card, so without a budget stated, I have no starting place. I do recommend you check out Toms Hardware - Best Graphics Cards for the Money, July 2011.

****

Use the eXtreme PSU Calculator Lite to determine the minimum and recommended power supply unit (PSU) requirements. Plan ahead and plug in all the hardware you think you might have in 2 or 3 years (extra drives, bigger or 2nd video card, more RAM, etc.). Be sure to read and heed the notes at the bottom of the calculator page. I recommend setting Capacitor Aging to 30% (see my note below), and if you participate in distributive computing projects (e.g. BOINC or Folding@Home) or extreme 3D animated gaming, I recommend setting both TDP and system load to 100%. These steps ensure the supply has adequate head room for stress free (and perhaps quieter) operation, as well as future hardware demands. Research your video card and pay particular attention to the power supply requirements for your card listed on your video card maker's website. If not listed, check a comparable card (same graphics engine and RAM) from a different maker. The key specifications, in order of importance are:

  • Current (amperage or amps) on the +12V rail,
  • Efficiency,
  • Total wattage.
Don’t try to save a few dollars by getting a cheap supply! Digital electronics, including CPUs, RAM, and today's advanced graphics cards, need clean, stable power. A good, well chosen supply will provide years of service and upgrade wiggle room. Look for power supply brands listed under the "Good" column of PC Mech's PSU Reference List. Another excellent read is Tom’s Hardware, Who’s Who In Power supplies: Brands, Labels, And OEMs. Note that some case retailers “toss in” a generic or inadequate PSU just to make the case sale. Be prepared to “toss out” that supply for a good one with sufficient power.

Most PSUs have an efficiency rating of around 70%. This means for every 100 watts of power a PSU draws from the wall, only 70 watts is delivered to the motherboard, with the rest wasted in the form of heat. The best supplies are 85 to 90% efficient, and as expected, cost more. I strongly recommend you pick a quality supply with an efficiency rating equal to or greater than 80%. Look for 80 PLUS and EnergyStar Compliant labels. 80 PLUS PSUs are required to have fairly linear efficiencies. This is important to ensure the PSU is running at or near peak efficiency regardless the load or power demands. Non-linear PSUs typically are most efficient when the load is in a narrow range between 70 and 90% of the PSU’s capacity and the efficiency may drop dramatically above and below those amounts.

Too big of a PSU hurts nothing but your budget. Your computer will draw from the PSU only what it needs, not what the PSU is capable of delivering. If a computer needs 300 watts it will draw 300 watts regardless if the PSU is a 400W, 650W, or 1000W PSU. In turn, the PSU, regardless its size will draw from the wall only what it needs to support the computer. In this example, it will draw 300 watts, plus another 45 – 90 watts, depending on the PSU’s inefficiency.

As noted, the eXtreme Calculator determines minimum and recommended requirements. If the calculator (with the changes I suggested) recommends a 400 watt minimum, a quality 400W supply will serve you just fine. However, a quality 550W – 600W supply will have, among other things, larger heat sinks to dissipate potentially more heat. It might have a larger fan too. The 400W supply will run most of the time closer to capacity, while the larger supply will be loafing along, rarely breaking a sweat. To help the smaller heat sinks get rid of the wasted 80 watts (20% of 400) of heat, the fan in the 400W supply may need to run full speed, while the fan in the larger supply, with bigger sinks just loafs along too – but in near silence. Also, it is typical for manufacturers to use higher quality parts, design, and manufacturing techniques in their higher power supplies.

Note: Capacitor Aging. All electronics “age” over time. Electrons flowing through components bang around and create friction and heat causing wear and tear, altering the electrical characteristics of the device. Over time, this weakens the device resulting in eventual failure. Power supplies have always suffered profoundly from aging effects resulting in a loss of capacity. In recent years, capacitor technologies have improved. The best PSUs use the best (and most expensive) capacitors which suffer less from aging effects than older capacitor types. If planning on buying a new, high-end PSU, setting capacitor aging to 10% may result in a more realistic recommendation. However, headroom “buffer” will be significantly reduced. You can expect your PSU to last 5 years or longer. Since it is better to buy too big rather than too small, and since it is hard to predict what your power requirements will be in 3 years, using 30% for Capacitor Aging ensures you have enough headroom for virtually any upgrade.

Don't forget to budget for a good UPS with AVR (automatic voltage regulation). Surge and spike protectors are inadequate and little more than fancy, expensive extension cords.


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#5
ThatTreeGuy

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Again, thanks so much for your help! Just a few more questions that i'm sure you've already answered but I just want to be absolutely certain.

Will this card:
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814131434

Be compat. with my computer?
I noticed it has some plug-in things, I think I recognize the blue one, is that where I will plug in my monitor? Or do I keep it with the old one?

Will these work?
http://www.crucial.c...5DBB51BA5CA7304

I can have two, right?

I looked for the power consumption on the card I linked and couldn't find it :).

Anymore information will be appreciated!
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#6
Digerati

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Assuming the link I provided to your computer is correct, yes that card is compatible with your motherboard.

I looked for the power consumption on the card I linked and couldn't find

Oh? I found it by clicking on the link that says, manufacturer's product page where you will see it calls for a minimum 450W power supply with a 6-pin PCIe power connector.

I noticed it has some plug-in things, I think I recognize the blue one, is that where I will plug in my monitor? Or do I keep it with the old one?

You need to look at your monitor and decide. For the best display, you need to go with a digital signal from either the HDMI or the DVI connector.

And yeah, it looks like that RAM will work.
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#7
ThatTreeGuy

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Last question for you sir! :]

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817101050

Saw the name epower and on the forum and it has some rep I guess :)

Would this be suitable? I read the review about it not working and freezing up and now kind of apprehensive about it.

I looked at the calculator from your post and it blew me away I didn't know what to put in. Sorry D:

To sum it all up I will be buying ( If the PSU would be a good choice )

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16817101050

http://www.crucial.c...9BA9A25A5CA7304 (decided to not get the 4G x2 )

and

http://www.newegg.co...N82E16814131434


I hope they all work together nicely... if not i'm doomed to lack of not understanding.
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#8
Digerati

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I am not familiar with the epower brand, though it on the good list suggests it should be fine, at least in terms of reliability. However, that particular PSU does not list it's efficiency - that would suggest it is not good, probably around 70% - perhaps worse with some loads. That means for every 100 watts the PSU draws from the wall, 30 watts is wasted in the form of heat. That is why I suggested you get an 80 Plus certified PSU - which must provide efficient power across a full range of loads. It cost more in the beginning but pays off in the long run to buy a quality PSU.

But also consider this - a car engine can miss a beat on cheap gas and keep on running. Not so with high-speed digital electronics. You wouldn't put cheap gas from the corner tobacco hut in your new Porsche, right? Or if you would, would you expect it to run at peak performance?

For the record, I like Antec and Corsair PSUs.
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#9
ThatTreeGuy

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Note the specs here: http://www.buy.com/p.../208114059.html


It's a Presario SR5505F

Does that change any compatibility with the card or ram I linked?
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#10
Digerati

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Darn. I don't know how I got the wrong computer last time. :) Sorry about that. I am glad you said something.

Here is your computer - SR5505F and the specs are different. For one, it has 4 memory slots that support up to 2Gb modules each. So for 8Gb of RAM, you need 4 x 2Gb. Here is what Crucial says will work: SR5505F Compatible RAM.

The graphics card will still work.
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